Shyam Vijay is a professional golfer with a terminal case of cricket-envy. In school he made a mark as the statistician and reserve deep midwicket fielder in his house team. He studied economics at Harvard, and City University – London. He tried his hand at investment banking before getting fed up with the corporate world altogether. His views may be taken with a pinch of salt; and some lemon and tequila as well.
The Higgs Bosom
Amidst all the hoopla over the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the so-called God particle of physics, I would like to get few facts straight.
How did Higgs Boson get its name?
It’s widely known that the great Albert Einstein and aamar Satyendra Nath Bose collaborated in the field of quantum physics in the early part of the twentieth century. It so happened, that one evening Einstein came to Bose’s house in a state of great intellectual fermentation. Bose unfortunately wasn’t at home, he had gone to the club for his daily bridge game.
Bose’s comely young wife however, was at home, and seeing Einstein at the door said in her husky Bengali tone, “Einsteinda! Aashoon, aashoon, boshon!”
“Boshon Boshon?”, thought Albert, already in tizzy. “Mrs Bose, a particle physicist in her own right?? Oi vey, no wonder Satyen is always late for meetings!”
”Boshon, boshon, roshogolla khaben?,” murmured Mrs B and prodded the unsteady Einstein onto a sofa.
Now when Mrs Bose came back with the plate of dainty roshogollas and bent over to put them in front of Einstein, she had the wardrobe malfunction that was to change physics forever. When Einstein caught a glimpse of Bengal’s finest, his electric field was charged by a spark of insight and much like Archimedes he jumped and yelled, “‘Boson’ ‘Boson’ that’s it! This is what will cause a vertical displacement of mass in an electric field!”…and there you have it.
About Higgs, well, not much is known except that his first name is Peter.
What the f… is a Higgs Boson? Ok let me dumb this down as much as I can..…
The Standard Model predicts the existence of a field, called the Higgs field, which has a non-zero amplitude in its ground state; i.e. a non-zero vacuum expectation value. The existence of this non-zero vacuum expectation spontaneously breaks electroweak gauge symmetry which in turn gives rise to the Higgs mechanism. It is the simplest process capable of giving mass to the gauge bosons while remaining compatible with gauge theories.
Got it? No?? Come on, are you slow or what! Try this picture, I’m sure it’s going to make everything super-duper clear…
Still befuddled? Let me explain again. Higgs Boson is a two-word phrase. Neither of the words means anything at all. But if you combine the two words you create a weapon of mass confusion, striking terror in the hearts of Humanities graduates and causing media execs the world over to play up a non-story for fear of looking stupid in front of their bosses.
Like, I mean, aren’t you covering the Higgs Boson, it’s the biggest thing to hit the newsrooms since er..little Mahi in the tubewell? By the way boss, you do know what it’s all about? No? Of course bacche, don’t be cheeky. I took Science in school (wiping bead of perspiration)… etc etc.
Should we give a damn about the Higgs Boson?
Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/frielp/164300865/]